#1894 $1,250 Sold
Galanos Hollywood evening gown, c.1951
James Galanos' fashion background informs his best work, like this splendid evening gown. He learned couture methods at the House of Robert Piguet in Paris. Galanos' natural theatrical flair was further developed by a stint in Hollywood with costume designer Jean Louis.
The dress dates from 1951, when Galanos opened his salon in Los Angeles. He was specializing in cocktail and evening dresses, when he was discovered by Rosalind Russell, who began to wear his designs. Throughout his long career, he favored the long slim look for eveningwear.
The dress is fashioned from heavy pink crepe embellished with rows of silver-lined crystal bugle beads. The tunic top closes in back with hooks, which cover the metal zipper of the dress. The straight lines of the design are broken only by directional beading in the bust area and a deep slit in the front skirt. The directional beading accentuates the body's curves. The result is design magic—sexy, svelte, and streamlined.
Although Galanos designed ready-to-wear clothing, the detailed construction and meticulous attention to detail were comparable to that of French haute couture. This early Galanos piece features the same exquisite workmanship that made him famous. When Nancy Reagan wore a Galanos evening gown to the Inaugural Ball, he received international recognition for his couture caliber collections.
Some of the details are subtle, e.g., the beading. It is perfectly matched, and it does not extend into the seam allowance, where it would add bulk. The result is an elegant, effortlessly streamlined gown.
The condition is almost excellent. The dress, which has been gently worn, shows only faint soiling on the underside of the hem.
Generous size. Although marked 18, the size is closer to a modern 12.
It measures: 40" bust, 30" waist, 42" hip, 15 1/2" from shoulder to waist, and 57" from shoulder to hem.